Courses

Course Schedule: Spring 2015

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
12:10–2:00 p.m. (Face to Face)       BIET K4991. Master's Thesis Workshop*
(Arthur Kuflik)
4:10–6:00 p.m. (Face to Face) BIET K4400. Introduction to Clinical Ethics
(Ken Prager, Barbra Rothschild, George Hardart, C. Blinderman)
BIET K4340. Reproductive Ethics
(Arthur Kuflik)
BIET K4305. Science for Bioethicists
(Meredith Stark)
BIET K4440. Global Bioethics
(Robert Klitzman)
5:30–7:30 p.m. (Online) BIET K4350. Neuroscience & Ethics
(Carl Fisher)
BIET K4300. History of Bioethics
(James Colgrove)
BIET K8440. Global Bioethics
(Robert Klitzman)
BIET K4400. Introduction to Clinical Ethics
(Ken Prager, Barbra Rothschild, George Hardart, C. Blinderman)
6:10–8:00 p.m. (Face to Face)   BIET K4370. Pastoral Care & Ethics.
(Linda Golding)
BIET K4350. Neuroscience & Ethics.
(Carl Fisher)
BIET K4330. Law and Bioethics
(David Hoffman)
7:30–9:30 p.m.     BIET K4330. Law and Bioethics (Online)
(David Hoffman)
 

* Meets on: Jan 22, Feb 5, Feb 26, Mar 5, Mar 26 and Apr 2 only.

Course Schedule: Summer 2015

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
May 21 –
Jun 25, 2015
BIET K7002. Introduction to Empirical Research in Bioethics: Qualitative and Multimethod Approaches. 3 pts.     BIET K7002. Introduction to Empirical Research in Bioethics: Qualitative and Multimethod Approaches. 3 pts.  
10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
July 20 –
July 24, 2015
BIET K4430. Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry. 3 pts. BIET K4430. Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry. 3 pts. BIET K4430. Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry. 3 pts. BIET K4430. Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry. 3 pts. BIET K4430. Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry. 3 pts.
4:00–6:40 p.m.
Jun 1 –
Jun 30, 2015
BIET K4360. Environmental Ethics. 3 pts. BIET K4360. Environmental Ethics. 3 pts.      

Course Schedule: Fall 2015

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
12:10–2:00 p.m.       BIET K4320. Philosophy of Bioethics. 3 pts.
4:00–5:30 p.m. (Online)     BIET K4305. Science for Bioethicists. 3 pts.  
4:10–6:00 p.m. (Face to Face) BIET K4300. History of Bioethics. 3 pts. BIET K4469. Advanced Clinical Bioethics. 3 pts.   BIET K4450. Research Ethics. 3 pts.
5:30–7:00 p.m. (Online)     BIET K4450. Research Ethics. 3 pts.  
6:10–8:00 p.m. (Face to Face) HPMNP8531. Seminar in Health Policy & Analysis. 3 pts.   BIET K4320. Philosophy of Bioethics. 3 pts.  
6:30–8:00 p.m. (Online)   BIET K4320. Philosophy of Bioethics. 3 pts.    
Please click on course titles below to see course descriptions.
Bioethics Core Courses
Bioethics Elective Courses
Bioethics Master’s Thesis

BIET K4300. History of Bioethics (BIET K4300. History of Bioethics – Online). 3 pts.

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the historical development of bioethics as an intellectual endeavor, a set of professional practices, and an institution. The organization of the course is both chronological and thematic. Over the span of the semester, students are presented with a narrative account of how bioethical ideas and practices developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with individual sessions organized around critical issues and episodes that shaped this development. By the end of the course students are able to identify and analyze the forces that have influenced the evolution of bioethics over the past two centuries. We pay close attention both to the advances in science and technology (such as dialysis and transplantation) that raised new ethical challenges and to the social, cultural, political, and legal context within which these advances emerged. Readings for the course comprise a mixture of historical analyses and primary documents, including seminal court rulings.

In addition to seminar-style discussion, students participate in a variety of in-class group activities and exercises that enable them to critically engage with the course materials. Students submit a short paper on one of the topics covered in the syllabus and a longer paper on a topic of their choosing. In the eighth week of the course, students make brief presentations about their planned final paper and have an opportunity to receive comments and feedback from their classmates at an early stage in their research.

BIET K4320. Philosophy of Bioethics. 3 pts.

Description

In contemporary bioethics, we find ourselves grappling with practically important, and at the same time, philosophically fundamental questions such as: What is health and why is it especially important? When does someone’s life begin and how should it end? What is the proper role of physicians, nurses and other health care providers and what are the rights of their patients? What is a just and fair way to provide access to health-care services and resources? In a society committed to protecting a diversity of lifestyles and opinions, how can citizens resolve policy controversies such as whether there should be public funding of human embryonic stem cell research, or a legally protected right to physician assistance in ending one’s life?

The aims of this course are to identify the fundamental ethical questions that underlie contemporary biomedical practice; develop skill in analyzing and clarifying key concepts such as health, disease and disability; critically assess the health-care implications of different ethical outlooks; and finally, to explore how citizens can reasonably resolve controversial bioethical issues in a mutually respectful way.

The course meets once a week in two-hour sessions. In-class discussions play a key role as students explore, in a give-and-take spirit, the pros and cons of each position.

This course is designed for medical students and for students at the graduate or advanced undergraduate level in biology, philosophy, political science, public health, law and other related fields. Course requirements include readings, participation in class discussions, a five-to-six page midterm paper and a final paper of approximately 12-15 pages.

BIET K4330. Law and Bioethics. (BIET K4330. Law and Bioethics – Online) 3 pts.

Description

This course introduces students to selected legal and policy texts that have addressed issues in bioethics and shaped their development. Students will explore and contrast legal reasoning and bioethical analysis, often of the same issues. By the end of the course, students will understand the legal or regulatory status of selected issues and have begun to independently navigate major legal, regulatory, and policy texts. Individual sessions will be focused around particular issues or questions that have been addressed by (usually) American courts and/or in legislation, regulation or policy, and that have been the subject of scholarship and debate within bioethics.

The course begins with a theoretical look at the relationship between law and ethics, and includes a brief introduction to legal decision-making and policy development. We then survey a range of bioethics issues that have been addressed by the courts and/or in legislation, regulation, or significant policy documents, contrasting and comparing legal argument and reasoning with arguments utilized in the bioethics literature.

BIET K4340. Reproductive Ethics. 3 pts.

Description

This course will examine critical ethical issues posed by developments in assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as /in vitro /fertilization (IVF); buying and selling human eggs and sperms; hiring "gestational surrogates" (i.e., "renting wombs"). These practices have helped millions of people to have children, but also raise serious moral concerns: e.g., about the scope of procreative autonomy, the status of the human embryo, the limits of legitimate state authority.

This course will explore the extent to which citizens with different points of view can nevertheless address these challenging issues in a mutually respectful way and thereby arrive at clearer and deeper understandings of what is at issue.Wherever possible, we will also strive to uncover significant (but sometimes not immediately apparent) common ground, in the hope of thereby reducing the areas of disagreement.

BIET K4360. Environmental Ethics. 3 pts.

Description

The environment affects human health and well-being, and current health-care technology can impact the environment. Thus, questions about how humans ought to relate both to their own environment and to other living beings on this planet fall squarely within the field of bioethics. While some observers may see bioethics as concerning only the health of human beings defined narrowly, bioethics in fact has many implications for the larger biosphere and vice versa. This course will thus address a number of fundamentally important ethical questions posed by environmental concern.

BIET K4370. Pastoral Care & Ethics. 3 pts.

Description

This course is for students with an interest in developing the skills to see and hear how the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects combine and impact bioethics interactions; to explore the ways in which elements of pastoral care can be integrated into the field of bioethics in order to inform decision-making concerning issues of illness and end-of-life. Through reading, discussion and practical application this course will investigate how spiritual and existential perspectives can impact the process of health care decisions and how they can inform and animate the bioethical understandings and practices in consultation and other endeavors.

The syllabus is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the practice of pastoral care, the responsibilities of pastoral caregivers, and definitions of spirituality; and an introduction to the influences of spirituality in decision-making around end of life, goals of care, pain, organ donation, family conflict, sharing and withholding of health related information, conflict among the medical team; and provider compassion fatigue.

BIET K4400. Introduction to Clinical Ethics. (BIET K4400. Introduction to Clinical Ethics – Online) 3 pts.

Description

While this course is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of clinical ethics and the basic terminology and framework of ethical analysis in biomedical ethics, it offers a more sociological perspective, putting the contemporary clinical issues into a broader context. After an introductory course on the development of clinical ethics and its impact on hospital care and doctor-patient relationships, on the prevailing autonomy norm and its critique, the course focuses on issues encountered in clinical practice such as informed consent, patient capacity, decision-making, end of life, advance directives, medical futility, pediatrics ethics, maternal-fetal conflicts, organ transplantation, cultural competence and diversity of beliefs and others.

Over the span of the semester, students become familiar with the ethical questions surrounding major topics in the clinic with a practical case-based approach toward ethics dilemmas and ethics consultation. During the semester, students attend a meeting of the adult or pediatric ethics committees of New York Presbyterian and Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, as well as ethics lectures given at the medical center. Exposure to a clinical ethics rotation may be offered to provide the student with real-life cases and an application of the concepts discussed in class.

Students are expected to submit a short paper on one of the topics covered in the syllabus and a longer paper on a topic of their choosing. In the eighth week of the course, students make brief presentations about their planned final paper and have an opportunity to receive comments and feedback from their classmates at an early stage in their research.

BIET K4430. Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry. 3 pts.

Description

This intensive one-week summer course will examine some of the major components and drivers of the drug development process and associated ethical issues. It will feature an array of well-known guest lecturers from across academia, industry, and regulatory bodies. During this course you will identify the most salient and enduring ethical issues for the pharmaceutical industry, and engage in a concerted and collaborative effort to brainstorm solutions and move forward the conversation and the field.

BIET K4440. Global Bioethics (BIET K8440. Global Bioethics – Online). 3 pts.

Description

Increasingly, issues of medical research and clinical care are posing complex ethical issues not only in the United States, but in other countries in both the industrialized and the developing world. Yet varying economic, political, social, cultural and historical contexts shape these issues. In diverse contexts in Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America, practices and policies, along with cultures and moral values differ enormously. Yet ethical issues are arising not in isolation, but as part of global communities and discourses. In research, multi-national pharmaceutical companies are increasingly conducting studies in both industrialized countries and the developing world, posing numerous ethical tensions. In clinical care, uses of reproductive technologies differ across national borders, leading to “reproductive tourism”. End of life care varies widely, reflecting in part differing attitudes toward death and dying. This course examines the political, economic, social, cultural, philosophical, medical, and historical roots and implications of these issues. Course requirements are a short, five-page paper that may be either an “Op-Ed” type essay or a more academic paper and a written assignment of approximately 15-20 pages.

This course meets for two hours a week for a lecture and discussion, facilitating in-depth analysis and debate of these vital areas. Course requirements include participation in class discussions, a five-page paper that may be either an “Op-Ed” type essay, or a more academic paper, and a written assignment of approximately 15-20 pages. This course can fulfill the requirements for Responsible Conduct of Research that the National Institute of Health and other funders currently mandate for training programs that they support.

BIET K4450. Research Ethics. 3 pts.

Description

In recent years, many crucial issues have arisen concerning research ethics. Scientists in biomedicine, social science and other areas, as well as policy makers face rapidly evolving challenges. In recent years, violations of research ethics have attracted attention from the public, the media, the government, and the scientific community, which have all responded in varying ways. Issues arise in deciding how best to protect human subjects, obtain informed consent, protect privacy and confidentiality, finance research without biasing results, and avoid “misbehavior” among scientists. Questions arise concerning the professional responsibilities and rights of scientists, the rights of study participants, and the appropriate role of the state in these matters.

This course meets for two hours a week for a lecture and discussion, facilitating in-depth analysis and debate of these vital areas. Course requirements include participation in class discussions, a five-page paper that may be either an “Op-Ed” type essay, or a more academic paper, and a written assignment of approximately 15-20 pages. This course can fulfill the requirements for Responsible Conduct of Research that the National Institute of Health and other funders currently mandate for training programs that they support.

BIET K4350. Topics in Neuroscience and Ethics (BIET K4350. Neuroscience & Ethics – Online). 3 pts.

Description

In this course, students will examine ethical, social, legal, and philosophical issues related to developments in the neurosciences, sometimes referred to as neuroethics. This field includes both the ethics of neuroscience (e.g, applied topics, such as the responsible conduct of neuroscience research or the acceptable limits of using new technologies) and the neuroscience of ethics (the use of neuroscience to inform theoretical questions, e.g., regarding moral reasoning or justifications for punishment).

Sessions will be organized under three main themes: “In the Clinic,” “In the Courtroom,” and “In Society.” “In the Clinic” will discuss medical applications of neuroscience, such as new varieties of pharmacologic enhancement, the use of brain imaging to diagnose mental illness, and the development of neuromodulatory therapies that directly alter brain function. “In the Courts” will address the legal implications of neuroscience, from concrete applications such as the admissibility of brain imaging in court proceedings to abstract questions regarding criminal responsibility and theories of punishment. “In Society” will review broader applications of neuroscience, including commercial ventures (such as “neuromarketing”), military uses, and the place of neuroscience in society.

This course meets once a week for a lecture and discussion. Course activities include in-class exercises, formal writing assignments, briefer written exchanges, and a final written project.

BIET K7002 Introduction to Empirical Research in Bioethics: Qualitative and Multimethod Approaches. 3 pts.

Description

This class will introduce students to questions and skills central to the production of knowledge and to research methods and tools. How is a question for research developed and transformed into an inquiry? What is evidence? What are the standards for proof and persuasive argument in bioethics research? The course centers on qualitative methods primarily, and mixed methods secondarily, as useful tools for engaging in research in general, and bioethics in particular. Students will consider the conceptual and theoretical foundations of qualitative inquiry, and the moral quandaries involved in using qualitative methods in bioethics studies. Course materials and exercises include: data collection techniques including observation, field notes, mixed media, and various types of interviewing; and analysis tools including text and content analysis, integrating measurement and experience, and effective presentation of findings.

BIET K4305. Science for Bioethicists. 3 pts.

Description

Drawing upon the rich array of preeminent scientists, physicians, and scholars working at Columbia University, this course takes an inter-faculty approach to explore the scientific underpinnings of some of the major challenges in bioethics. Should we regulate advances that allow for manipulation of genetic outcomes? How do we balance respect for persons, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice, in light of a changing scientific and medical landscape? Students will be better equipped to understand the scientific foundations underlying some of the most prominent issues in bioethics; become acquainted with research and scholarship in the field; be poised to consider and analyze enduring bioethical issues in a new light; and become familiar with a set of new ethical challenges emanating from some of the science and clinical research explored during the course.

BIET K4469 Advanced Clinical Bioethics. 3 pts.

Description

This course is designed for those students who have successfully completed Introduction to Clinical Ethics. The present course addresses two elements essential to the practice of consultation in medical ethics. First, we will explore the role of the clinical ethics mediator in a clinical ethics consultation. We will be practicing the role through videotaped role-plays and through watching and critiquing other role plays in movies and media. Students will also think critically about the role of such a mediator in today’s hospital. Second, we will also examine further several essential issues in clinical bioethics that are most likely to come up in the course of a clinical ethics consultation. This course thus further helps equip students to do or be involved in clinical ethics work in hospitals and other settings.

BIET K4996. Clinical Ethics Practicum. 3 pts.

Description

The goal of the Clinical Ethics Practicum is to give selected students experience leading or co-leading clinical ethics consults and writing or co-writing chart notes. During the Practicum, students will shadow, work closely with, and be supervised by, a clinical ethicist at various local hospitals.

The Practicum is a very special opportunity to gain the necessary experience to apply for Quality Attestation for Clinical Ethics Consultants; each student should lead/co-lead and author/co-author a total of six (6) consults, the number required for application.

Because the need for clinical ethics consults arises based on when a patient requests a consult, the timing of these consults cannot be predicted. Students should be prepared to make themselves available most of the time, on most of the days, of their involvement with the Practicum. We expect that students should be able to complete their six consults in one to two months.

Prerequisites

Preference will be given to those students with relevant prior experience. Participants will also need to register as an Administrative Visitor (or the equivalent) at the medical center where they are assigned, which will require them to undergo a physical exam/medical clearance.

Application

Interested students should email Patricia Contino with a brief two-paragraph summary of their interest in the Practicum, and a summary of their prior relevant clinical experience or previous work with clients. Because there are limited spaces available for the Clinical Ethics Practicum, we will give priority to students who have already taken Introduction to Clinical Ethics and Advanced Clinical Ethics in the program.

HPMNP8531 Seminar in Health Policy & Analysis. 3 pts.

Description

This course is designed to provide an overview of the health care systems in the developed world, with an emphasis on the U.S. health care system as a case study. The course will include some discussion of health care systems in developing countries and students will have an opportunity to explore health policies in developing countries in their course paper if they choose to do so. In addition to describing the organization of the health care system and the policies that shape it, we will look critically at the values that shape policy choices. We will start with a comparison of the U.S. health care system with other developed countries. Most other developed countries have either a “national health service” or “national health insurance system.” In contrast, the U.S. relies on a complex public-private system with gaps. Next, we will the problems of access, cost and quality in the U.S. health care system. We will explore how our understanding of these problems is shaped by the political system. In the third section of the course, we will examine the major public health insurance programs in the U.S. In the final section of the course we will examine the politics of health care reform in the U.S. An important assumption of this class is that bioethics can contribute to policy discussions by encouraging policy makers to ask better questions. To do so, it is important to identify and evaluate the assumptions and evidence on which policies are based.

Independent Study: IRB (Institutional Review Board) Internship. 3 pts. over 9 months.

Description

The IRB Internship program allows students to gain hands-on and administrative experience in an Institutional Review Board setting. The Internship is a wonderful opportunity to work in the field and to gain valuable experience and connections.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) at academic research centers, hospitals, and universities across the U.S. are part of a federal oversight system created nearly forty years ago to safeguard the rights and well-being of people who volunteer to take part in research. Within this system of “research protections,” institution-based ethics review boards (i.e. IRB’s) provide prior review and approval of research involving human subjects. The IRB promotes an institution’s application of the core ethical principles related to research and supports compliance with federal, state, and local research regulations.

Potential topics covered during an IRB internship are IRB metrics (what types of metrics can be used to demonstrate whether IRBs are achieving or falling short of their mission), ethical challenges encountered in drug abuse research, randomized controlled psychopharmacology studies involving minors, the limits of confidentiality with respect to internet-based research, and informed consent/subject literacy.

Since the number of spaces is limited, students who are interested should contact the Program Director, sending a description of their relevant background and interests. Students who are selected are assigned to one of various IRBs, where they will have the opportunity to work directly with a mentor at the organization. Students will be required to complete a scholarly project during their Internship, the parameters of which will be determined by the Program Director, mentor, and student.

Prerequisites

Preference will be given to those students with relevant prior experience. History of Bioethics, Philosophy of Bioethics, and Research Ethics are recommended.

Application

Interested students should email Patricia Contino with a brief two-paragraph summary of their interest in the Internship, and a summary of their prior relevant experience. Because there are limited spaces available in the Internship program, the Program’s Director and Associate Director will make final decisions about which students are chosen for the Internship.

SOSC P8746 Public Health Ethics: Coercion and Persuasion. 3 pts.

Description

This course will explore the uses of coercion and persuasion in public health. To prevent and control the spread of disease, public health professionals choose from a continuum of possible approaches ranging from persuasive to coercive. At the former end of the spectrum, public health seeks to induce certain actions or behaviors by cajoling, admonishing, pleading, tempting, and frightening; at the latter end, it compels people to take actions or refrain from taking actions through the use of laws and legal penalties. In the middle lies an ethical and pragmatic gray area of manipulation, psychological and emotional pressure, and threat—what is sometimes known as manipulation or quasi-coercion. Some of the most challenging ethical and practical decisions in public health require confronting the question of what degree of coercion, if any, is warranted given the magnitude and nature of the problem at hand.

BIET K4990 Master's Thesis

Description

The master's thesis provides an opportunity for students to expand their understanding of the complexities of the issues involved in a specific topic within bioethics. They work closely with the core faculty member to whom they are assigned, and often with an additional faculty affiliate as well, depending on their interest. They identify and focus on a topic and conduct a rigorous review and analysis of the relevant theoretical and/or empirical literature. Students are encouraged to choose a topic that draws on their specific interests, past experiences, and/or future professional or academic goals.

BIET K4991 Master's Thesis Workshop

Description

The Thesis Workshop is designed to help students turn their thoughts into organized, structured writing. It is useful whether you are still choosing between potential topics or already have an outline and abstract completed and are beginning to write. First year and second year students are strongly encouraged to take the course.

Students will learn how to (a) select a suitable thesis topic (b) access the appropriate resources for researching that topic (c) narrow the scope and improve the focus of the topic selected. Students will also be provided—both by the instructor and by one another—with constructive feedback and positive support in their initial effort at (d) formulating an abstract and (e) working out a tentative outline. Finally, students will explore various strategies for (f) making a cogent, all-things-considered case for whichever conclusion(s) might be warranted by their research.

Prerequisites

Being enrolled in the Bioethics M.S. program and in position to work on one’s thesis within the year following the Workshop.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.